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Later Marching Camps?
#1
Pat Southern, in The Late Roman Army, describes the site at Ermelo as 'the sole example of a late Roman marching camp'. However, as pointed out on Fectio, Ermelo has now been redated to cAD170 - not all that 'late'.

Ammianus Marcellinus mentions field encampments in his descriptions of the Gallic campaigns of Julian, so presumably the Roman army were still building them. But would they have been the same as those constructed by the army of the principiate? Why, if we discount Ermelo, have no remains been found? The later army often relied on billeting in settled areas, but there were plenty of cross-border campaigns. Might it be possible that some known camps - in north Britain and Scotland, for example - date from the post-Severan period? Or might it be that the encampments of the later army were in some way different, and left less of a mark on the landscape?

:?:
Nathan Ross
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#2
It is interesting where you mention the Severan period for much work went on at the famous area of Chew Green near the boader between England and Scotland.
A google earth scan shows just what a tremendous site it is and it also has a small fortlet that it is said was put there for a more permanent help with the 1/1 hill just to the south of the place.
I have visited the place twice however it is on a military range and if anyone wishes to go there they have to go get permmision at the range, the better time to go is early spring at lambing time when the military behave for a while
Brian Stobbs
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#3
Quote:Pat Southern, in The Late Roman Army, describes the site at Ermelo as 'the sole example of a late Roman marching camp'. However, as pointed out on Fectio, Ermelo has now been redated to cAD170 - not all that 'late'.
Indeed! :wink:

There is a possibiolity of course that later armies carried less pottery with them, resulting in a smaller trace of their presence? Look at that recent German battlefield - no camps along the route?
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR
FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
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#4
Quote:Might it be possible that some known camps - in north Britain and Scotland, for example - date from the post-Severan period?
Absolutely. As long ago as 1970, Charles Daniels was warning us that some of the temporary camps in Scotland could very well date from the campaigns of Constantius Chlorus and Constans. (He might have added the known fourth century campaigns, too.)

Quote:There is a possibiolity of course that later armies carried less pottery with them, resulting in a smaller trace of their presence?
I must confess that Ermelo had slipped past me (despite being clearly marked on Schönberger's 1969 map of the frontier).

I've had a look at your Fectio page, Robert. You are very lucky to have so much pottery evidence. Pottery plays a vanishingly tiny part in dating the temporary camps in Britain. On the few occasions when pottery has been recovered, it has simply confused the situation!

Do you happen to have an excavation plan of Ermelo. I would be fascinated to see what parts were excavated, and where all that pottery came from!
posted by Duncan B Campbell
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#5
Duncan.

Is the lack of pottery in British marching camps not due to the very good coating of grass heather and scrub, or is just that there has not been enough excavation of such camps.
I have found loads of pot shards from ploughed fields but none when I have walked camps, indeed that was what I looked for at Chew Green many years ago but sadly no.
Brian Stobbs
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#6
As you probably know, Brian, most of the camps we're talking about are enormous. Until recently, there was a consensus that the interiors would be empty, so there was no point in excavating there. Any excavations were limited to a few cuts across the perimeter to check that it looked like Roman work and to confirm the positions (and type) of the gateways.

The chances of finding any dateable material from excavations like these are very slim. (I'm not even certain that the extensive excavations in Kintore temporary camp -- which discovered over a hundred field ovens -- have turned up Roman pottery.)
posted by Duncan B Campbell
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#7
Quote:Do you happen to have an excavation plan of Ermelo.

I've the excavation report in front of me now. If Robert hasn't I'll get you a copy of the lay-out asap.
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Jvrjenivs Peregrinvs Magnvs / FEBRVARIVS
A.K.A. Jurjen Draaisma
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ALA I BATAVORUM
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#8
As to possible marching camps in my (home-)area:
I still havent't found a definitive clue about the Camp 3 at Ladenburg/Germany east of the Aussoniusstrasse (north of the Kandelbach).
The traces of it were scarce -- no evidence of stone walls, buildings at all, so this may well have been a marching camp -- traces of a landing site on the northern bank of the candle bach suggest a small (make-shift ?) harbour also there nearby.
"Römer in Baden-Würrtemberg, 3rd ed. 1995" say this camp "probably belongs into the late 4th century, when the Romans one more (last) time tried to set (a permanent ?) foot on the Ladenburg disrict".
My research hasn't got me much further than that still. I had asked Dr. Sebastian Sommer
(who was the excavator in charge there in the end-90's) for more information (while I was attending the Limes colloquium in 2010)and he could not help me more than affirming that the dating evidences were scarce -- actually based on two coins, then (1990's) .
Now this is where my recollections leave me a bit aback, I cannot exactly remember whether the coins dated in times of Constantine/C.s sons or the times of Valentinian II./Magnus Maximus, which would be more in line of what RiBW states. Berndmark Heukemes, the local archeologist and head of the local museum then, died in 2009 -- so I can't ask him anymore.
Interesting similarities to the late roman camp of Neuss-Hummelbachaue arise.
This one also completely lacked stone buildings, although the buildings behind the earth-and-wood rampart of this fort of 1 ha size were of wooden-framework on stone foundations.
This one was clearly dated from 377/378 till the 6th cent.
Well -- how about the Danube frontier -- is there any evidence of late marching camps ?

Greez

Simplex

P.S. Nathan, AFAIR a "castrum nivisium" is also mentioned by Ammian, but the finds from
Hummelbachaue do exclude that one.
Siggi K.
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#9
Quote:There is a possibiolity of course that later armies carried less pottery with them, resulting in a smaller trace of their presence
Interesting. Might they have started using barrels, then?

Quote:As long ago as 1970, Charles Daniels was warning us that some of the temporary camps in Scotland could very well date from the campaigns of Constantius Chlorus and Constans. (He might have added the known fourth century campaigns, too.)
Constantius, Constantine, Constans and Theodosius, of course! There's a nice gold crossbow fibula from Ericstanebrae, right on the Roman road into central Scotland, marked from Diocletian's decenallia in 303, which suggests penetration of at least the lowlands around this time.

Quote:I still havent't found a definitive clue about the Camp 3 at Ladenburg/Germany east of the Aussoniusstrasse (north of the Kandelbach)... "Römer in Baden-Würrtemberg, 3rd ed. 1995" say this camp "probably belongs into the late 4th century, when the Romans one more (last) time tried to set (a permanent ?) foot on the Ladenburg disrict".
Thanks, Siggi - any more info you come across on this one would be most appreciated! Was there anything, as far as you know, different about the layout or form of this later camp (size or depth of ditches, for example, if that can be determined) compared to earlier types?

I did wonder whether later camps might simply be smaller - numbers given in literary sources for troops in the field tend to be generally somewhat less than in earlier centuries (or perhaps the writers were more honest?!). In north Britain particularly, after the massive invasions of Severus, and about a century of 'peace' (aka desert!), the inhabitants of Caledonia seem to have been rather thin on the ground. The small force brought by Theodosius in 369 might suggest that large-scale campaigns were not required, perhaps?
Nathan Ross
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#10
Quote:
Robert Vermaat Wrote:There is a possibility of course that later armies carried less pottery with them, resulting in a smaller trace of their presence
Interesting. Might they have started using barrels, then?
Or leather flasks, or whatever. Of course this would not be the case during the 4th c., but during the 5th c. the production of pottery (I'm told) dropped sharply, and troops on the march will have found the supply wanting.
Just theorising, I'm not suggesting that every site can be dated later due to missing pottery.. Wink
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR
FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
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#11
Quote:Might they have started using barrels, then?
I'm not sure how much pottery an expeditionary army might be expected to drag around with it. I imagine that most of the men simply used the metal pans and leather containers (that are visible on the dreaded Trajan's Column).

That's why I am so interested in the Ermelo finds.
posted by Duncan B Campbell
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#12
Quote:I've the excavation report in front of me now. If Robert hasn't I'll get you a copy of the lay-out asap.
Can you send it to Duncan? Mine seems to be buried (I hope) under a heap of books & documents .. Cry
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR
FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
[Image: artgroepbutton.jpg]
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#13
@Nathan:
I just been to the local PubLib to see what I can get there.
They got the book about 1900 years of Lopodunum (I'm abbreviating that title here).
To cut it short:
According to Dr. S. Sebastian Sommer:
They had the opportunity to dig up again in 1985 what they've already found in 1978:
a fossa (unmistakably) of about 10m lenght (a guess of mine according to pic67 there),
1,9-2,7 m width and ca. 1,5 m depth (The "educated guess" in the paper states that it would have been ca. 5m wide and 2,4m deep initially.)
The area showed strong erosion, no rampart or inner building have been spotted.
At first they could not tell which side of the trench faced inwards -- reasoning with
the topographical situation at this place it was likely that it was (part of) the western
trench.
The finds inside were also quite ambivalent:
At first they justified dating it into the Vespasianic Era, but later finds there in a larger contex strongly advocated dating it "late".
(e.G. "Mayener Ware" pottery which Dr. B. Heukemes linked to the 4th century)
All the finds were made in a "lower" find-horizon.
The covering material was also ambivalent, so it left posible both : a trench that was kept open for a longer time or a trench that was widely used for garbage.
-end-
No coins as yet (?). Seeems my memory went wrong. Confusedhock:
Further hints to other paper have been give in the reference, which I'll try to get.
@DB:
Given at least "stray-material" from "late" dates at Limes Fort like Saalburg,Kapersburg
and possibly at Osterburken or Bad Cannstadt (> the Aurelius Saluda-Kenotaph mentioned elsewhere).
[@jens Horstkotte: Doesn't Steidl refer to late finds from the Taunus forts ?]
we'd be careful, I think, considering the use of "abandoned" fortresses from the High Empire as marching/temporary camps in "late" times for earnest, not only taking Ammianus'
remark about Julian reestablishing a "munimentum Trajani" (Amm. XVII, I , 11 ?) into account.

For now

Greez


Simplex
Siggi K.
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#14
Quote:At first they justified dating it into the Vespasianic Era, but later finds there in a larger contex strongly advocated dating it "late".
(e.G. "Mayener Ware" pottery which Dr. B. Heukemes linked to the 4th century)
Thanks again! That would imply there's no discernable difference between a 4th c camp and one of 200 years before. Interesting that it's pottery once again providing the date estimate.

Quote:we'd be careful, I think, considering the use of "abandoned" fortresses from the High Empire as marching/temporary camps in "late" times for earnest
Very true - successive Roman armies would probably have used the same or similar routes into enemy territory, marched similar distances and therefore constructed camps in similar locations: we see this layering of fortifications where successive camps are of different sizes, but possibly if the old trench lines were just redug on the same plan - or, as you say, surviving fortifications reused - perhaps it wouldn't be so easy to make out the difference in date.
Nathan Ross
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#15
Nathan ,
...... this is a rather ambiguous gift of mine.
If you "meddle" around with "Mayener Ware" pottery you're entering slippery ground.
(Archeological battle-ground, actually)
IIRC "mayener ware" is kinda "leading fossile of late antiquity" as such and that means
the countless types of it were in use from the last third of 3rd cent AD to first third
of 5th cent AD and maybe beyond.
If you want to spoil your life Confusedhock: , learn German and get yourself into "late" pottery. :?
(Best to start with s.th. like this: http://ubm.opus.hbz-nrw.de/volltexte/2009/2070/pdf/diss.pdf -- Dr. Jürgen Oldenstein's roundup on Alzey -- I've still to read it in full -- let alone to fully comprehend it. :mrgreen: )

Greez

Simplex

P.S. When the roman conquest of Germany ran along older trade routes that dated back to the late stone age -- why should they have taken new ones only 2 centuries later ??
Siggi K.
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